Hello, everyone, yep . . . it’s already March 2020. Before I start, I need to send out a birthday greeting to a very special person who was born on the day this newsletter is reaching all of you. Shae . . . Happy Birthday!
February was a mixture of a lot of things for me personally. The first half of the month was me getting prepared for a couple disc golf tournies in Orlando and right here in Pinellas County. Then . . . nothing for the last half. And I don’t play again until the middle of March. How did I play? Uh, up and down. But it’s light years ahead of where I was 6 months ago.
The weather here in Clearwater Beach has been unseasonably chilly, at least in my opinion. I’ve been here since 2011 and usually the only cold time is January. But this month? We got down into the 40’s and when we teed off in Orlando it was like 53 degrees or something. VERY odd. And even as I write this, the last couple days have been more like January days. Yes . . . it can get at least a little cold here in the Tampa area.
But I’m doing good. My dad is good. Sister took a trip to Israel and is coming back right about now. Brother Brian and I went to the gun range last week—and kind of made fools of ourselves trying to zero in a rifle. It was pretty funny. Brother Michael? Uh, not sure . . . don’t talk to him as much. Maybe I should give him a call . . . .
Let’s start where we always do.
March 6th: April Andrews
Others coming up: Jay Lushbough, David Hardy, Fallon Cooksey, and Ryles Chapman.
If you’re looking at this case and saying, “But Ed, you had some on last month’s list that aren’t on this one. And you haven’t covered those other cases yet.” Well, I do have an explanation for you, and it’s not one that is probably obvious from the public POV. Often times things fall through. People back out. People decide it’s not the best time. Other things comes up. A family can’t agree on if they need all the attention right at this point. Some worry about how talking about a missing parent will affect the young children. LOTS of reasons that people eventually decide not to come on the program.
On the other hand, and this is much rarer, we at Unfound sometimes decide after having those initial conversations that we can’t cover a disappearance. What are some of the reasons? Well, honestly, the #1 reason is because we don’t believe the person is telling us the truth. I am NOT saying that this person is lying to cover up something or anything like that.
Instead, and I think this is a factor of the environment of true crime today, some people believe to get their story told that have to exaggerate to get people’s attention. Like this disappearance could be connected to a bunch of other missing people or murders. Or the missing person knew something about a big scam and that’s the reason he disappeared because he was going to be a whistleblower. Lots of instances like these.
And as you would expect, that stuff doesn’t impress myself or my assistants. No one needs to tell big stories about conspiracies to get on the program. In fact, if a person does that, and has no proof, then that almost guarantees the person will not make it on Unfound. That’s just not we do. However, it IS what other podcasts do.
The other issue is many times I will have a conversation with a possible guest and it will go something along the lines of “Well, the persons I suspect of causing this disappearance told me . . .” And what will follow is some complicated series of events that stretch the imagination. And . . . the possible guest believes it. Granted, sometimes myself and the guest are put in a position where the POI is the only one with a story. A good example might be Kassie Ramirez’s disappearance. John O’Brien says he dropped her off at a train station. Do I believe that? No. However, it is certainly POSSIBLE that it happened.
In contrast to a story I might hear where five guys are involved. And they all tell different stories. But the possible guest thinks all of them are telling the truth, so he/she concocts some Rube Goldberg theory as to how they COULD all be telling the truth. Well, at that point I feel like I am just spinning my wheels. It just doesn’t feel that productive to me when I consider broadcasting something like that to the listeners, because in my heart I KNOW none of it’s true despite what this family member says.
So, I have to decline.
Another good example would be a disappearance I considered covering early on in Unfound’s existence, probably early 2017. A man who worked for the Federal Government disappeared. He allegedly had found millions of dollars of missing money during an audit he was conducting. And a family member was trying to convince me this missing man got whacked by the Fed Gov because of what he found.
Now, logically, I’m thinking, “The Federal Budget is 5 trillion dollars. Is anybody really going to get whacked if a few million goes down a hole? Probably not.” Not to mention that making one guy disappear is not going to cause the missing money to automatically appear. Instead, another accountant will come in and the same thing will be found. NOT to mention that since this family member knew about the ALLEGED missing money and is still alive, it couldn’t have been that big of a deal. In fact, I’ll be honest—I’m not even sure the money was really missing.
Yet, I was still willing to cover the disappearance and that theory IF . . . and this is the key . . . if we could also talk about how the guy who allegedly found this missing money was cheating on his wife and was last seen with the wife’s brother. Now, I’m sure you’re saying, “Well Ed, that sounds like a much better reason that the guy disappeared than the Federal Government thing.” Yeah, I know. But this family member told me he would NOT talk about that. He only wanted to cover the conspiracy angle.
At that point, I had to decline. What it told me is this guy had an agenda and I didn’t want Unfound to be a part of it. Moreover, this guy was willing to cover up a viable theory all in the effort to make it seem like the missing man was some kind of martyr.
Well, we don’t do that stuff here. I’m sure they do that on other podcasts. But we don’t do that here. No way. Never.
So, these things happen. And it’s the reason some times you will see names in the Upcoming Cases section, then those cases aren’t covered. And also some times, I’ll have a great first conversation with family members. I’ll call them back. And call again. And text. And email. And I never hear from the person again. Yep, that happens too. More than you’d know.
Back in late 2019, I wrote and talked about how remains were found in the area near where Crystal disappeared in 2012. Eventually, those bones were determined to be her. And her family posted that they were finally bringing Crystal home and they conducted services according to their belief system.
However, it wasn’t until this past week that I got to talk to Crystal’s sister, Mechelle, who was my guest way back in August 2017—seems like yesterday. Although I will not go into all the details, I can tell you the family is satisfied there was no foul play involved in Crystal’s death. In addition, there is no proof that Crystal’s prior drug addiction had anything to do with her disappearance and death. Neither they nor the coroner believe this is a situation where Crystal shot up and overdosed. In addition, this was not a suicide.
Instead, the way Mechelle put it to me, a lot of different elements came together that day to cause Crystal’s death. And if any one of those facts could’ve been taken away that day, Crystal would most likely not have disappeared or died, and she’d be alive today. Very sad. Tragic. All in all, I would say the one point I personally did not account for strongly enough was just how sick Crystal was that day—her condition was probably worse than anyone knew.
I think her disappearance and death will be one that sticks with me in relation to how I will analyze cases from now on. Why?
Well, if you read Volume 1 of Season 2 of the Unfound book series, you know in the Observations section of Crystal’s chapter that I wrote with some certainty that foul play was involved. I hypothesized that somehow Crystal had called the dealer she had used before, he picked her up, and . . . something happened. Possibly he gave her a hot shot. Possibly they got into a fight and he killed her. Something like that.
I was wrong. Very wrong. And although I still believe a vast majority of the disappearances Unfound has covered are murders, I from now on am going to take a closer look at the person himself or herself and not discount even the smallest of details. I will admit that in Crystal’s case, that because she was an addict at one time, I believed she had relapsed.
We now know she didn’t. And maybe her family can take some solace in that.
What other disappearances have we covered might I change my mind on? I really don’t know. And I would tell the guests about the changing of my beliefs before I would ever write anything here. However, I am sure there are a few.
I can at least tell you this: Since finding out about Crystal’s death, I know I haven’t been as quick to jump to the “foul play” scenario in the recent cases we’ve covered. Eric Alvarado’s is a perfect example. Most of the audience believe someone else parked his Jeep on that highway. And there are many reasons to believe somebody could’ve murdered him. Me? I can’t help but think something like Crystal’s circumstances also happened to Eric—I see a lot of similarities.
Just something to keep in mind as we cover more disappearances. Crystal’s family has my deepest sympathies.
LINKS FOR BOOKS
Here are the links for all 6 for Season 1:
Volume 6 – https://www.amazon.com/dp/1077115520
I know what you’re saying: Ed, I don’t recognize that name—did she disappear? Yes, she did. In 1993. But Unfound never got a chance to cover her disappearance. Yet, I wanted to write about Christie anyway because Unfound came THIS CLOSE to doing an interview.
Back in 2019, Christie’s daughter, Becka, contacted me. We spoke possibly twice on the phone. We talked about the circumstances as I usually do with a prospective guest. Then, toward the end of our conversation, Becka told me there were remains that were found in 1995 that could be her mother. Yes . . . 1995. 25 years ago. But the DNA work was still being done. Becka was very frustrated at that moment when I talked to her because the process was taking longer than she expected—I am hearing a lot about that these days–DNA tests taking many months if not years.
Well, this past week, police determined that the remains found in 1995 are Christie Witcher. Christie’s throat had been slashed. So this now becomes a murder investigation. Becka messaged me when her mother was positively identified. I asked her if there are any suspects at this time. She told me there are none at this time.
I will keep you updated as best I can as things develop.
Lots of stuff going on there. First, the two recent videos I filmed of myself. The short one being an intro to the Unfound Podcast Channel, as it is now known. That seriously took about 50 takes to get it right. Why? Because I wanted to do it memorized without having to read any lines. I didn’t want to be like some “hairdo” on the 6 o’clock news reading from a teleprompter. Who wants to see my eyes going right to left, right to left and pretending to have the lines memorized? Nobody.
And so, it took me that many times to get the memorized lines correct to the point that I thought it was presentable.
The other video—the disc golf one—was more of a spur of the moment thing. I tried to record it the night before. I had the Clearwater skyline in the background at night. It was a great shot. But then . . . the a/c units came on and killed the sound. I was about ten minutes in when it happened. So, I shut down production for that night.
The next day, I went to the other side of the building away from the units and ended up with the background you see—the beach. The lighting was tough because it was coming from the left side. So I had to use the two LED lights I use for the Live Show to illuminate the right side of my face. All in all, I think I did okay in the lighting department. Not great. But okay. I’m really just happy the audio was good.
Now, you should know, my disc golf friends have made fun of how long it was. “Ed, really, 45 minutes to explain what discs you carry?????” Well, that video was much more than that. I told a few stories. Talked, of course, about Unfound. A little bit of everything. I hope you enjoyed it.
As for everything else, Natasha is doing a great job. She is not just re-doing the old videos and updating them with the new music. She has created playlists according to the states where the disappearances happened. She creates short preview videos for the episode for that week. She has added the watermark down in the bottom right hand corner. Etc. Etc. Etc. All awesome stuff. Natasha certainly knows what she is doing and I am very happy to have her as one of the my assistants, because I would never have the time to put into it as much as she has.
As 2020 progresses I am sure the Channel will reach and surpass most of the other true crime channels out there in terms to quality and professionalism. No doubt.
Yeah, I haven’t talked about it much. In fact, I don’t think I have mentioned it on the episodes for over a year. Why? Well, things have not gone as planned. Why????? I think the main reason is that the person who was in charge of the site—someone who WAS NOT one of my assistants . . . how do I put this? I could never convey to him my vision. Let me re-write that. I had a vision. I would tell him. Then, what would eventually come out was something totally different. It certainly didn’t help that I know next to nothing about building websites.
At least with the YouTube channel, when I was working on it by myself, I knew what to do, even though I didn’t have a lot of time to put into it.
With the website? The webmaster and I would have a conversation in English. But afterward, I felt like I was speaking Swahili and he was speaking Pig Latin. You know what I mean? He is a nice guy and as a person, I don’t have one bad word to say about him. But we could never quite get together on what the website was supposed to be doing. Furthermore, and I think this was a factor, he was not interested in true crime and I don’t think he ever listened to the program. That didn’t help.
So, what’s going on now?
Well, I decided to start from scratch. New hosting company. New website name. New website address. Everything is new. And I need to thank Natasha once again for taking on this gargantuan task as well. So she now has in her control the maintenance of the YouTube channel and of the design of the website. But in addition, Cheree has come up with a couple excellent ideas that we’re going to be using on the website once we get the basics where we need them to be. What were her ideas? Well, you’re just gonna have to wait and see.
Overall, the website stuff is a load off my mind. As I said above, I wasn’t mentioning it because it embarrassed me—it wasn’t up to my standards but there wasn’t much I could do about it. So, I denied its existence. Now? Finally I can start talking about it again. But it’s probably still a bit of a ways away from being ready for the public. I’ll let you know when it is.
Are you a Patreon yet? If not, please consider it.
You can also support the program on Paypal. Unfound’s account is firstname.lastname@example.org.
On the Live Show this past Wednesday I said something that would probably shock most other true crime podcasters. Well, not just true crime hosts. But ALL podcast hosts. I made the statement that I am infinitely/exponentially/monstrously more interested in going to college campuses and talking to students about missing persons cases, than I am about ever having a tv show.
AND. I. MEAN. IT.
Why? Why do I have that attitude? Why are my goals so much different than most everybody else’s?
Those are easy questions to answer and there are multiple reasons. #1, first and foremost, before I leave this earth I would like to see attitudes change toward missing persons cases. The entire part of our culture that includes disappearances is unrespected. Yes, the general public takes an interest in them. But the people who ultimately have the power to serve warrants and subpoenas, and handcuff people have limited passion, and that passion goes down to nil after a short amount of time. I want this to change. And I believe the knowledge I continue to accumulate can be passed on to those who will eventually be in the same place as investigators are now. And if I can just put one little tiny morsel of conscience and knowledge and experience in them—something that will make them work a little harder on these cases, when they are in positions to do something about them, then I will feel that my life has meant something. That I will then be part of the change I want to see in this world.
I don’t think I can do anything about world hunger. Or war. Or terrorism. Etc. Etc. Etc. You can pick your own issue. But I think I CAN do something about improving the investigations of disappearances. I believe it. I know it.
But there are some other reasons.
#2. Entertainment, even true crime shows which are very popular, have become disposable these days. Here today, gone tomorrow . . . and maybe you’ll see them again as re-runs on late night tv in 2027 or something. Moreover, as I saw with the recent Up and Vanished series on Oxygen, the mistakes!!!!!!! Oh my gosh. If there were a tv program with the Unfound name on it that made as many errors as that program did for the Jodi Huisentruit episode, I would be hiding because it would have the Unfound name on it and I am ultimately responsible for anything put out that bears that title and logo. Me. Not the producers who will probably be working on some kids show a year from then. Or the writers. Or the editors. Or anyone else. The public would forget about ALL of them. But they surely would not forget about me since the series would have UNFOUND in big bold letters at the beginning and the end.
I am NOT saying I would turn down any opportunities that would come to me. However, as I’ve said many times over the last 3 ½ years, if it’s not a situation where I have the power to approve and disprove scripts and themes and POV’s, then I am just not interested. Sure, I sound like a bit of a prick on these items. But it’s MY reputation that’s on the line . . . not anyone else’s.
Another reason. I guess this is #3. And this kinda goes along with #2. To many people “true crime” is not a vehicle to solve cases whether they be heists or murders or disappearances or rapes or any other type. To many people “true crime” IS entertainment. Well, tastes in entertainment change. Just like over the last 25 years we’ve gone through fascinations with dinosaurs to vampires to werewolves to wizards to zombies to . . . whatever comes next. Ultimately, the tide will recede at least a bit. And tv people will want the next big thing, whatever that will be. Why? Because the public will change. You the audience will change.
Yet . . . the cases will STILL be unsolved. And solving disappearances and actual crimes will always be in fashion. This is why I continue to say I don’t do Unfound because true crime is popular. I do it because I want to solve these disappearances. Period. Many other hosts are doing true crime because it’s a hot thing. And the second the public loses a bit of interest, these hosts will move to something else.
That’s not me. I will be doing this long after others have moved on due to their download numbers going down.
So to answer the questions above, because I’ve come to true crime from a different place in my embodiment, I have a different attitude about the effect I want to have on true crime. Thus, speaking to people goes in line with my beliefs and values. I think it also helps that I have a vast amount of public speaking experience.
Having said all that, I have two awesome opportunities coming up.
First, although it is not a speaking engagement, I will be on the Nova Southeastern campus in Davie, FL on April 9th to speak with Dr. Grace Telesco about everything concerning missing persons cases. It will play live on the university’s Facebook page. Of course I will be reminding everyone about it from now until then. I think my brother Brian will be riding down there with me—it should be an awesome road trip.
The other engagement coming up, although we haven’t decided on a date yet, is to speak at Northwestern State University. Strangely enough, and despite its name, it’s in Louisiana. So, once again, it’s within driving distance of where I am, although it will be an all day trip . . . which is fine.
At NSU, I will either be talking to a mixed crowd as part of an overall event at the school. Or, I will be speaking to individual criminal justice classes. We haven’t worked that all out yet. Either way, the professor, who is a HUGE fan of Unfound, is excited about having me come to the campus. Frankly, I would prefer speaking to CJ majors exclusively because I think my knowledge and experience is more in tune with them. However, I am flexible.
My goal is to eventually have one speaking presentation per month. I don’t mind being on the road but the podcast is always my #1 concern—nothing else happens without it. So I will not do any outside work that gets in the way of interviewing families and publishing their stories. But I will admit I have thrown around the idea of taking Unfound on the road where I visit all the guests who’ve been on the program and go to the places where their loved ones disappeared. Right now it’s just an idea. But it would be really cool because I would love to meet all of them.
To my knowledge there have been no new developments. Dennis Bowman, although the story was that he was going to plead guilty to the murder of Kathleen Doyle, still has not taken claim to any of the crimes he has committed, including killing Aundria. In addition, the remains found on the Bowman property still have not been officially identified as Aundria’s. I am thinking that is going to happen soon, though.
My assistants and I have had more than one talk about Dennis Bowman. We believe he is a serial killer. Kathleen and Aundria are surely just the tip of the iceberg. We also believe his wife had an inkling as to what he was doing. We are NOT saying she was directly involved. However, we do believe she had enough information over the last 40 years that she could’ve gone to police with her concerns. Of course, she didn’t. And we believe she should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law if her complicity can be proven. She shouldn’t be let off easily.
That’s all I have for this month. Thanks for reading!!!